By Jason Wojciechowski on January 29, 2012 at 9:45 PM
I'm back from FanFest. I'll have a wrap of that tomorrow, but for now, links.
Susan Slusser wrote on Friday afternoon that the A's signing Manny Ramirez might not be so crazy after all. Her analysis is predicated on the contract being a minor-league deal. If that is the case (and it sounds like this is informed opinion on her part, not pure reporting but not pure speculation either), then I'm less against the idea than I might have been otherwise.
Bob Melvin (preview!) told a group of A's bloggers today that he thinks Brandon Allen will be good, but he hasn't had the opportunity to really play through a slump and come out the other side and succeed again. Giving a young DH (whether it's Carter or Allen) 50 games and then bringing on Manny Ramirez if that player hasn't hit doesn't sound to me like Melvin's idea of how you develop a young hitter.
Wishinsky went from cold to lukewarm on the idea.
Bruce Jenkins, meanwhile, thinks the A's are a circus. He basically denies the argument that Manny Ramirez is good in the clubhouse and calls him a "slouch by nature." I don't really have to address this seriously, do I? There isn't a "slouch by nature" in the history of the world who hit 100 homers in the big leagues, much less 555. Some reports have Ramirez as a distraction, some have him as a good guy. Some say he works hard, some say he doesn't. I don't know who to believe, but I do know this: it's not some columnist writing linkbait columns.
Oh, and in that same Slusser article, she mentions Oakland's interest in Conor Jackson. This sounds like a sop to Bob Melvin, because I don't understand where the guy fits. He's not an asset with the glove at the corner outfield spots, he doesn't hit well enough to carry any position he's capable of standing around at, and if they think he has some clubhouse / teaching value, then they should have just signed him instead of Jonny Gomes to be the right-handed fourth outfielder.
Forget about the 40-man, I don't see where Jackson fits on the 25-man roster.
Adrian Cardenas was designated for assignment to make room for Jonny Gomes. Joseph Lopez says the move makes sense because there wasn't room for Cardenas at the big-league level. You'll remember, of course, that Cardenas was my predicted cut. (You didn't remember? For shame.) That doesn't mean I necessarily think he's the right cut, because Pedro Figueroa is still on the roster, as is Sean Doolittle, but I don't think it's an absurdly wrong decision, either. He hasn't hit well enough to think he's going to be a reasonably useful player in the bigs, and it's not clear the A's think much of his defense, either. Utility guys without sticks, even ones who are still just 24 and have no major-league service time, aren't such a rare commodity.
John Verburg at Motor City Bengals covets Cardenas for the Tigers.
Up at the mothership, Christina Kahrl has a wonderfully informative look at what player basically defines the average hitter for each position. I was hoping there'd be an A's link in there so I'd have an excuse to post it, and indeed: Seth Smith, though he'll be playing left with Oakland, represents league-average right-fielders.
This kind of mental picture of what league-average actually means is, I think, a great way to avoid underrating averageness on your own squad. It's easy to see a bunch of players who don't make the All-Star team and never will and call them scrubs, but when you compare your own team's shortstop to Clint Barmes, you might realize that you don't have it so bad after all.
David Wishinsky has an amusing (in a morbid way) look at the A's career home run totals and finds some players with more career homers than the entire Oakland roster. Tommy Milone, you'll be happy to know, is tied for 15th on the current A's career homer list.
For those who actually live close enough to Oakland to get to games without it being a special trip, FreeSeatUpgrade has a look at the 2012 schedule over at FK.
Susan Slusser's roundup of FanFest is here. Brandon McCarthy as the Opening Day starter is the only real bit of news, and even that is barely news, given how little the pitching rotation order matters.
Actually, that's unfair: Daric Barton will be limited to DHing until mid-March. The team knows already that he's their best defensive first baseman, though, so the only real question at hand is whether his bat is solid enough to allow his glove a chance to make an impact, or whether Brandon Allen or even Chris Carter can hit enough to overcome their weak gloves.
There is a funny bit about Seth Smith accidentally calling Tyson Ross "Tyler." He should take heart: Bob Melvin called Cliff Pennington "Chad" in (preview!) our blogger session with him today.